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Airline Approved Pet Carriers (For Cabin)

airline approved pet carrier reviews

Today we're covering the basics of air travel with your pet. In this post we're detailing how to select an airline approved pet carrier for keeping under the seat in front of you, in the cabin of the airplane.

If you're looking for info on checking your dog in the cargo hold of the plane, see our post on the best airline approved dog crates for cargo hold air travel.

Best Airline Approved Pet Carriers for Cabin: Quick Picks

Airline-Approved Pet Carrier Features: What to Look For

There are several variations of different airline approved pet carriers to choose from. Some differentiating features include:

  • Wheels. Some airline friendly carriers have wheels for easy maneuverability, while others function more as standard dog backpack carriers or pet purse carriers, with handles and shoulder straps. If you have a weak shoulder, you may want to opt for wheels over traditional over-the-shoulder style carriers.
    • Zipper or Velcro. Some carriers have velcro closings, while others use zippers. Velcro can be opened potentially by boisterous pets, but provides faster access. Zippers are more secure, but can be a nuisance.
      • ​Ventilation. You'll want to make sure that your airline approved pet carrier has plenty of ventilation for your dog to breath and feel comfortable.
      • Pockets. Pockets are always handy to have on your pet carry on bag. Pockets allow for easy storage of toys, treats, and other supplies. Some airline pet carriers will have more pockets than others.

      8 Best Airline-Approved Dog Carriers

      We're using extensive research and consumer data to bring you a review of the best airline approved dog carriers.

      All of these carriers come highly rated, so you can't really go wrong. With wheels, foldable extensions, mesh sides, and all manner of handles, you have plenty of great options to choose from!

      Please note that there is no one official airline approved dog carrier, as carrier requirements vary between airlines. However, all of these carriers have been used for air travel and should suit your needs.

      Still, we suggest you always double check your specific airline carry-on dimensions with any carrier you consider ordering.

      Looking for a carrier you can check in cargo during your flight? See our guide to airline approved dog crates for cargo hold.

      airline approved pet carrier

      About: The Petsfit Expandable Airline Approved Pet Carrier is stylish carry on dog carrier that can be expanded or retracted through the use of fold-out panels. It can even be collapsed completely for easy storage and transport.

      Price: $$

      Our Rating:

      Features:

      • Foldable. When unzipped lies completely flat to save space, approximately the size of a laptop case.
      • Expandable. Side zips down to provide extra space while sturdy wire frame maintains shape.
      • Zipper Opening. Pet entrance has 2 zippers for easy access and secure closure - perfect as an under seat dog carrier.
      • Adjustable Shoulder Strap. Allows for comfortable carrying for you and your pet.
      • Maximum Weight. The small carrier is suitable for companion pets up to 12 lbs., the medium carrier 16 lbs., the large carrier 20 lbs.
      • Multiple Sizes. This carrier comes in three different sizes. Small (for pets up to 12 lbs), Medium (for pets up to 16 lbs), and Large (for pets up to 20 lbs).
      • Available for purchase from Amazon.

      SIZING DIMENSIONS:

      • Small: 16" X 10" X 9"
      • Medium: 18" x 11" x 11"
      • Large: 19" x 12" x 12"

      PROS: This airline friendly pet carrier boasts an expandable “porch,” which gives pets extra room to move, lounge, or view the world. High quality, sturdy and well-built with soft, comfortable base pad.

      CONS: Only one color choice. A little hard to open the expandable section with pet inside.


      airline approved pet carriers

      About: The Bergan Soft-Sided Airline Pet Carrier is a soft, duffle-bag style carrier that allows for discreet transportation of your canine as a carry-on.

      Price: $

      Our Rating:

      Features: 

      • Removable Fleece Bed. Soft fleece bedding and rigid insert panel helps the carrier hold its shape. Both removable for easy washing.
      • Comfort Your Pet. Exclusive "Pet Connect" zipper opening allows you to comfortably and safely interact with your pet while traveling - an excellent choice for airline approved dog carriers for in cabin travel.
      • Shoulder Strap. Optional shoulder strap included is padded and adjustable.
      • Multiple Zipper Openings. Several zippered mesh panels allow for maximum viewing and ventilation.
      • Multiple Safety Features. This airplane pet carrier has locking zippers, seatbelt loops, and reflective strips.
      • Lead & Phthalate Safe. There are no harmful chemicals for you or your pet.
      • Comes in 3 Size Options. Small (perfect for kittens, puppies, and teacup breeds up to 7 lbs), Large (external measurements – 16x8x10in for pets up to 22 lbs) and Large with Wheels (features patented pull strap that instantly converts to shoulder strap, wheels are detachable).
      • Multiple Colors. This airplane friendly dog carrier comes in Black, Mineral Blue, Rose Wine, and Spinach Green.
      • Available on Amazon for purchase

      SIZING DIMENSIONS:

      • Small: 14" X 6" X 8"
      • Large: 19" x 10" x 13"

      PROS: Good quality. This carrier's wheels and straps are easy to use and comfortable, with extra side pockets for leash, treats, or other items. This airplane pet carrier also has some nice color choices. Overall a great dog carry on bag with wheels.

      CONS: Sizes tend to run small for airline approved dog carriers. Can be confining for large pets.

      dog carry on bag

      About: The Sleepypod Under Seat Dog Carrier is the whole package - it functions as a airline carry-on carrier, a car seat, and a dog bed!

      Price: $$$$

      Our Rating:

      Features: 

      • Flexible Size. The Sleepypod airline approved pet carrier fits pets up to 17 ½ lbs, but is also compressible to fit under different size seats on airlines or fold up when not in use.
      • Sleek Design. Very well designed, giving pets maximum room without sacrificing sturdiness or style.
      • Luggage Grade Fabric. High quality nylon outside with super comfy plush inside for a class A airline approved dog carrier.
      • Easy Access. Both the top and ends open, making it easy to access pets.
      • Multiple Colors. Comes in Dark Chocolate, Glacier Silver, Jet Black, Orange Dream, Strawberry Red, and Robin Egg Blue.
      • Size. Available in size Medium which measures 22x10.5x10.5in.
      • Available from Amazon for purchase.

      SIZING DIMENSIONS:

      • Single Size: 22" x 10.5" x 10.5"

      PROS: Extremely high quality and sturdy, easy to attach to luggage carriers, sleek design, and a comfortable interior.

      CONS: More expensive than other airplane pet carriers, plus somewhat bulkier.

      airline approved dog carrier

      About: The Sherpa Deluxe Airline Dog Carrier is an airy, duffle-style carry on carrier with abundant mesh windows, providing extra ventilation for you pooch.

      Price: $$

      Our Rating:

      Features: 

      • Guaranteed Airline Approved Cabin Pet Carrier. Suitable for travel on most major domestic airlines.

      • Flexible Frame. Springy wire frame with soft-sided carrier material flexes to fit under various seat dimensions.

      • Straps. Includes both seatbelt and luggage strap for easy carrying and safe travel.

      • Easy Entry. Contains both top and side entry panels as well as full mesh panels for ventilation.

      • Sizes. Small (for pets up to 8 lbs), Medium (for pets up to 16 lbs), and Large (for pets up to 22 lbs).

      • Multiple Colors. Available in Paisley, Plum, Black, Brown, Gray, Red.

      • Available for purchase on Amazon

      SIZING DIMENSIONS:

      • Small: 15" X 10" X 8.5" /  for pets up to 8 lbs
      • Medium: 18" x 11" x 10.5" /  for pets up to 16 lbs
      • chevron-circle-right
        Large: 19" x 11.8" x 11.5" / for pets up to 22 lbs

      PROS: A well-ventilated, flight approved pet carrier. It boasts roomier size and a comfortable fleece pad.

      CONS: Can be heavy on your shoulders if you have a bigger pet, and can also be a tight fit on some airlines.

      airline approved pet carrier with wheels

      About: The Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 Pet Carrier is a rolling bag styled carrier that is ideal for those who'd rather not lug around their pup over their shoulder the entire trip, opting instead for the convenience of rolling wheels.

      Price: $$$

      Our Rating:

      Features: 

      • Large Mesh Panels. 3 sides of mesh panels for viewing and ventilation with easy zipper access.

      • Folds Flat. Folds down for easy storage or transport when not in use.

      • Multiple Options. Can be worn as a backpack, rolled on the ground, lain flat, or stands on its own with pet inside.

      • Telescoping Handle. Provides multi-stage telescoping handle and wheels for easy maneuvering.

      • Pockets. 2 side storage pockets for leash, treats, bowls, or food.

      • Sizes. Medium (for pets up to 9 lbs) or Large (for pets up to 10 lbs).

      • 2 Color Choices. This airline approved pet carrier comes in two color options - Red/Black or Khaki/Navy.

      • Available for purchase on Amazon

      SIZING DIMENSIONS:

      • One Size: 15" X 13" X 9" /  for pets up to 15 lbs

      PROS: Nice for pets that like to sit upright and view the world. The rolling wheels is another very handy feature for this airline approved dog carrier.

      CONS: Plastic construction sometimes unstable, with some buyers reporting broken parts. Hard base must be removed for it to fit under seats.

      under seat airline dog carrier

      About: The Sturdibag Large Airplane-Friendly Carrier is another duffle-style carrier with multiple doors, straps, and windows for your canine's comfort during flight.

      Price: $$

      Our Rating:

      Features: 

      • Lightweight. Made of very lightweight durable 600 denier polyester with flexible rods that help maintain arch shape.

      • Comfortable Straps. Easy to carry with an adjustable 4-point padded shoulder strap and leather hand grips.

      • Multiple Mesh Panels. Several mesh windows for viewing and ventilation that can be covered as well for privacy or comfort for your pet.

      • Safety Straps. Perfect to strap in airline seats or for car seat belts.

      • Huge Color/Pattern Selection. This dog carry on bag comes in 23 color and pattern options.

      • Available on Amazon for purchase.

      SIZING DIMENSIONS:

      • One Size: 17.7" X 11.8" X 11.8" 

      PROS: Lightweight, roomy interior. Also has a flexible size and shape for different sized airline requirements. Another fun bonus is the wide variety of colors and patterns this airplane dog carrier provides.

      CONS: Only one entrance/exit can be a bit of a hassle.

      7. teafco argo airplane pet carrier

      airplane dog carrier

      About: The Teafco Argo Airline Approved Dog Carrier is a stylish carrier with durable fabric and surrounding dual mesh windows for your dog's comfort.

      Price: $$$$

      Our Rating:

      Features: 

      • Rugged Construction. Made from quality 840 denier nylon fabric.

      • Mesh Windows. Dual mesh panels on all sides for ventilation, viewing, and pet comfort.

      • Convenient Size. Ideal for small dogs and cats.

      • Water resistant. Sturdy construction and fabric protects your pet and repels water.

      • Adjustable Straps. Shoulder strap is adjustable and removable for easy access to top zipper.

      • Multiple Colors. This airline approved dog carrier comes in black, kiwi green, berry blue, tango orange, and petal pink.

      • Two Sizes. The small is suitable for puppies, kittens, or toy breeds. The large is better for small pets.

      • Available for purchase on Amazon.

      SIZING DIMENSIONS:

      • Small: 18.5" X 8.5" X 10.5"
      • chevron-circle-right
        Large: 20" x 10" x 9.2" 

      PROS: This under seat airline dog carrier uses high quality, durable fabric, with sturdy mesh windows,

      CONS: Some say this carrier is not breathable enough. It's also on the expensive side.

      8doggydolly plane-friendly carrier

      airline approved dog carriers

      About: The DoggyDolly Airplane Friendly Pet Carrier is a fun, unique looking dog carrier with a style all its own!

      Price: $$

      Our Rating:
      • Designer Look. Carrier is made from recycled denim jeans, giving it a unique style compared to other dog carriers for air travel.
      • Sturdy Frame. Soft and comfortable fabric with sturdy frame for protecting your pet.
      • Mesh Panels. Two mesh panels on the ends allow for breathability and comfort for your pet as well as easy access and viewing.
      • Strap Options. Removable shoulder strap plus handles for many ways to carry.
      • Available for purchase on Amazon.

      SIZING DIMENSIONS:

      • One Size: 16"L X 10"W X 12"H

      PROS: High quality with a very unique design. This dog carry on bag is sturdy yet flexible.

      CONS: Not super strong on the inside, so not ideal for shredder pets.

      Airline Sizing Requirements + Pricing Details

      UNITED AIRLINES

      ​For Hard-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions for hard-sided kennels are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high.

      For Soft-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions for soft-sided kennels are 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm).

      Note: Soft-sided pet carriers are allowed to slightly exceed recommended since they are adjustable and be conformed to under-seat space. 

      Pricing: Additional $125 service charge each way. Also an additional $125 service charge for stopovers over 4 hours within the US, or 24 hours international.

      For more info, see the United pets travel page.​

      AMERICAN AIRLINES

      ​For Hard-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions of 19" x 13" x 9".

      For Soft-Sided Crates: Can be slightly larger than hard-sided kennels if they are made of water-repellant material, are padded, or have nylon mesh ventilation on 2 or more sides.

      Pricing: $125 per kennel

      For more info, see the American Airlines pets travel page.

      ALASKAN AIRLINES

      For Hard-Sided Crates: Maximum hard-sided carry on crate dimensions cannot exceed 17" x 11" x 7.5".

      For Soft-Sided Crates: Maximum soft-sided crate dimensions cannot exceed 17" x 11" x 9.5".

      Pricing: $100 each way

      Additional Info: Option to bring two pets in the main cabin, when adjacent seat is purchased by the same customer. The pet counts as your carry-on allotment - this means you can bring your pet + a personal item, but not a pet + personal item + standard size carry on bag.

      Allows option for two pets of same species and similar size ​may travel in a single carrier.

      For more info, see the Alaskan Airlines pet travel page

      DELTA AIRLINES

      Sizing Info: Maximum dimensions depend on your flight and the size of the aircraft - you'll need to contact the reservations desk for exact info.

      Pricing: $125 each way

      For more info, see the Delta pets travel page.

      JET BLUE

      Maximum Dimensions: Maximum carry-on carrier dimensions cannot exceed 17"L x 12.5"W x 8.5"H and the combined weight of pet + carrier can't be over 20 lbs.

      Pricing: $100 each way

      For more info, see the JetBlue pets travel page.

      SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

      Maximum Dimensions: Maximum dimensions for carry on crates are 18.5” long x 8.5” high x 13.5” wide.

      Pricing: $95 each way

      Additional Info: Cannot travel as carry on for international flights.

      Allows option for two pets of same species and similar size ​may travel in a single carrier. Pet carriers qualify as either A. a personal item or B. a carry-on item. This means you can bring the pet carrier + a regular-sized carry on bag.

      For more info, see the Southwest Airline pet travel page.

      VIRGIN AIRLINES

      Maximum Dimensions: Insubstantial information online - contact airline for details.

      Pricing: Cost varies on destination, time of year, and size of carrier. Contact airline carrier for more info.

      For more info, see the Virgin Airlines pet travel page.

      Other Airline & Flight Details to Consider

      • Most airlines require that dogs be able to stand up and lie down comfortably in their carry-on travel carrier.
      • Crates must be in good condition and without cracks, breaks, or tears. Airlines may reject carrier if it is not in good condition.
      • Each flight can only allow a certain number of carry-on pets per flight. Often, this number is quite small (often just 1-2 for first and business class seating, and 4-5 for cabin seating). Because of this, it's important to book your flight as soon as possible.
      • Pets must stay in carrier for the entire duration of the flight.
      • When taking a pet as a carry-on, you may not sit in the exit row or any row where under-seat space is not available in front of you.
      • Most airlines do not allow the transportation of snub-nosed dogs.
      • Pets younger than 8 weeks not allowed to fly. Additional age restrictions may exist depending on airline.
      • Pets cannot fly with unaccompanied minors.
      • CDC requires that all pets coming to the US are immunized against rabies and must be completed 30 days before arrival. 
      • Some airlines allow multiple pets of same species and similar size in one carrier, while others do not. 
      • Crates must be leak-proof and ventilated on at least two sides.
      • Carrier regulations and requirements may vary for a single airline depending on the aircraft and the flight destination.

      Do you have any experiences with airline pet carriers you'd like to share? Tell us about your favorites and review your top picks in the comments section!

      Want more ways to travel with your pooch? Check out our guide to dog bike baskets!

      About the Author Meg Marrs

      Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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